If you’re going to believe a lie, it doesn’t get much more basic than a lie about how life came to be. And believing that kind of lie has consequences that go far beyond arguments about science textbooks.
Although proponents of naturalistic evolution seem to have a stranglehold on education, media and popular culture, there are serious problems with the position that most refuse to admit.
Others, however, have been willing to go where the evidence leads them—to a conviction that evolution cannot be correct.
“For me, the failure of Darwinism is part of the reason I came to faith in Christ,” says biochemist Fazale Rana. “I was an agnostic, studying biochemistry in graduate school. I came to appreciate the sheer complexity of the cell’s chemical systems. And I looked at evolutionary explanations for where life comes from. I found the explanations to be inadequate.”
Rana became convinced there must be a Creator. And when he accepted a pastor’s challenge to read the Bible, he was captivated by the person of Jesus Christ. He put his trust in Christ, and now he serves as vice president of research and apologetics at Reasons to Believe.
Naturalistic evolution—sometimes called materialistic evolution—cannot adequately explain the origin of life or the elegant design in living systems, Rana says. Further, he adds, if evolution is true, the fossil record should contain evidence of gradual changes between species. But instead, it shows sudden, explosive appearances of major groups.
Author and speaker Greg Koukl likens the problems with the naturalistic paradigm to a football game. “You have to have a kickoff, and then you have to have the game,” says Koukl, whose most recent book is titled The Story of Reality: How the world began, how it ends, and everything important that happens in-between. “You have the beginning, and then you have the process of the game playing itself out, play by play.”
The kickoff, Koukl says, is the origin of life: “In order for Darwin’s ideas to begin playing themselves out in the biological realm, you have to have life to begin with. So here’s the question: How did life come from non-life, without divine intervention? The answer is, nobody has any idea—any reasonable speculation—about how this could have taken place.”
Without an adequate explanation for the origin of life, the evolutionary “game” never even kicks off.
But even if one could explain how dead stuff became living stuff, Koukl points out additional hurdles with how the game would play out. One problem is how simple life forms progress to complex ones. The actual empirical evidence, he says, does not show that genetic mutations have the kind of “creative” power needed for natural selection to do any significant work. There simply are not enough “good” mutations to choose from—even given great amounts of time—to build the kind of complex structures needed to drive evolution forward.
And beyond science questions, the consequences of believing in random, naturalistic evolution are grave.
“I see it as a devastating idea that creates an unbelievable amount of damage,” Rana says. “For example, if you think human beings are the product of evolution, that the end has no purpose, that there is nothing special about us, then it’s logically reasonable to perform abortions if that life isn’t wanted by the mother. What difference does it make?”
Evolution, Koukl adds, leaves us with a world in which “there is no design, there is no purpose, there is notelos—that is, there is no intended direction for anything. Things just happen.”
In such a world, people have no ethical obligations to others. And even if some of us live in a culture that recognizes human rights, we have no basis on which to judge any other culture, even one that recognizes nohuman rights. There is no firm basis for morality, so we can change our morality whenever we want.
If that sounds a lot like our world today, we shouldn’t be surprised.